Q&A

Camilla Hersh: A pro-life OB-GYN looks at abortionists

Q&A
by Marvin Olasky

Posted on Monday, January 18, 2016, at 7:50 am

Our Jan. 23 issue includes a Q&A with Dr. Camilla Hersh, founder and owner of Virginia Women’s Health Associates and a board member of the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Here are additional questions and answers from the interview.

You have three grown daughters and one granddaughter? What about OB-GYNs who have children and grandchildren and do abortions—how do they live with that? The most common explanation is that they feel that the patient is going to have it done anyway. There are some dreadful complications if it’s done badly, so they feel like they’re protecting their patient from complications. When I was at the University of Michigan, one of the professors—his specialty was late-term abortion—was speaking at a conference. Someone in the crowd stood up and asked, “How do you feel when you do these late-term, 27-28 week babies, who if you delivered them would go to the intensive-care unit and do well?” The professor said, “It is very troubling and at certain times in my life it’s been very troubling. When my wife and I were expecting our first baby and if I was doing a termination at the same gestational age that our baby was, that was very troubling for me.”

Did that statement surprise you? Everyone in the room sat there going, “I thought he was lacking in the ability to feel the same things you and I feel if you put the brakes on if a squirrel is crossing the street.” You try not to kill a living being. It’s in our nature. But no, there was nothing wrong with that part of him at all. So, I think most practitioners who do abortion feel like it’s a necessary sadness to prevent the serious complications that can happen from abortion.

One of the striking things from the Planned Parenthood videos: The folks selling baby parts don’t seem to care about the squirrel crossing the street. I’m equally horrified. You think surely this must be troubling, but I think the abortionists they are filming have become numb to the process—and there’s a profit to be made. Do you know how much a fetal liver costs on the website menu of Stem Express? Say you were a scientist working on some project and you needed to order fetal liver cells—it’s $24,000. When they were interviewing the CEO of StemExpress undercover, they asked, “What could make you happier?” She said, “Oh 50 more livers a week would do it.” Everyone regards abortion as a failure, a failure of relationship, a failure of someone’s hopes. But it’s horrifying, the profit to be made.

Like Germany’s Josef Mengele during World War II … He studied twins with a macabre practicality: If your society has said these human beings will be killed anyway, shouldn’t we learn from them? This is human tissue, it’s available, why should we waste it? Shouldn’t we do cold-water drownings on prisoners? Shouldn’t we find out how we can transplant their organs to one another? Very polished and educated scientists in Germany had that practicality. But it is horrifying when someone is eating lunch and drinking wine and laughing about what is at least the most tragic sadness of our human existence. What Mother Teresa said: “It is poverty that a child must die so that we can live as we like.”

If you were sitting down with that Planned Parenthood person, how would you respond to “the child will be dead anyway” logic? Spontaneous loss of life allows organ donation—but to take someone’s life, especially as treatment of premature babies becomes more and more successful? If someone robs you of your life and also sells your organs, what kind of people have we become? We could remove this question from the emotionally charged, political topic of abortion and ask about prisons in China. One group, China Watch, has documented that if you’re convicted [of a serious crime] in China, they draw your blood and check your blood type, and if you’re a match, suddenly your crime becomes a death penalty crime and they harvest your organs. What are the ethics of using those human parts?

Over five days, Jan. 18-22, WORLD’s website is running other responses from Dr. Hersh.

Marvin Olasky

Marvin is editor in chief of WORLD and the author of more than 20 books, including The Tragedy of American Compassion. His latest book is Reforming Journalism. Follow Marvin on Twitter @MarvinOlasky.

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